Skip to main content

A/HRC/16/69: Report of the Secretary General on the protection of human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS


20 October 2010

UN symbol



Persons with HIV/AIDS


The present study is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 12/27, in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to prepare an analytical study on the steps taken to promote and implement programmes to address HIV/AIDS-related human rights. The study was informed principally by (a) responses to a survey from Governments, United Nations organs, programmes and specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations; and (b) a consultation of Member States, non-governmental organizations and United Nations representatives, held in Geneva on 25 October 2010.

Informants reported some success in strengthening human rights elements of national HIV responses, but also many deep and politically difficult challenges yet to be overcome. Protection from HIV-related discrimination is embodied in national AIDS strategies and national laws, but discrimination remains widespread in many sectors of society. Discrimination is linked closely to HIV-related stigma, which is in turn linked to both fear and ignorance regarding modes of transmission of HIV and to association of HIV with behaviours that are criminalized or considered “immoral”. There is increasing knowledge of programmes that can work to reduce HIV-related stigma, however such programmes are often not funded or implemented at a scale necessary to make a significant difference.

Ensuring the protection, respect and fulfilment of human rights in all areas of HIV services is essential for an effective response to HIV and AIDS. These goals will not be met without a major strategic shift and reallocation of resources to scale-up measures that directly advance the rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Human rightscentred approaches entail a commitment to community empowerment and meaningful participation in decision-making by people living with HIV and affected populations.

Issued By:

United Nations Secretary General

Delivered To:

the Human Rights Council 16th session